Archive for November 8th, 2014

Numbers 32

Numbers 32 has the people of Israel just about ready to cross the Jordan into the Promised Land.  The people of Gad and the people of Reuben came and said to Moses and to Eleazar the priest and ask for permission to stay where they are and take that land as their inheritance rather than crossing into the Promised Land to receive their inheritance.  Moses gives them a history lesson about the last 40 years and why they had been wandering in the wilderness while every person alive last time this happened had to die.

It was because of the spies that had been sent ahead to check out the Promised Land.  They, including one from the tribe of Reuben and Gad, had come back and told the people not to go and take the land God had promised.  Only Joshua and Caleb had believed God’s power, but the other ten convinced the people not to go.  So they have been waiting for this time for 40 years, and now these tribes want to deviate from the plan again.  Moses is not pleased.

He reminds them that “if you turn away from following him, he will again abandon them in the wilderness, and you will destroy all this people”.  They’ve been here once before and Moses has no interest in living under the anger of God again.  He is clear that this is not an option unless they agree to help make the journey into the Promised Land a success by helping with the battle that lies ahead.  They come to agreement that if the men of Gad and Reuben go with the people to take the land, then they can return and have this place as their own.

Moses tells them “If you will do this, if you will take up arms to go before the Lord for the war….then after that you shall return and be free of obligation to the Lord and to Israel”.  It wasn’t that Moses didn’t want them to have this land east of the Jordan as their own, but that he didn’t want their lack of participation in taking the Promised Land to make it more difficult or impossible for the remaining tribes.  So they agree to pass over the Jordan and be part of the battle ahead.  Moses negotiates a good outcome that will give all what they desire after working together to achieve everyone’s goals.

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